28.04.1945 No. 616 Squadron Meteor III EE252/EE273 Sq/Ldr. Watts / Fl/Sgt. Cartmel
Date: 29th April 1945 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 616 Squadron
Type: Gloster Meteor III
Serial: EE252 / EE273
Code: YQ-G / YQ-K
Base: Faßberg, Germany
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Leslie William Watts DFC. 117728 RAFVR Age 28. Killed (1)
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Brian Cartmel 1512014 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On a recce patrol in the evening when collided in cloud with another 616 Squadron Meteor (2) EE273 YQ-K flown by Fl/Sgt. Brian Cartmel. Both aircraft crashed near Lüneberg killing them both.
(1) Sq/Ldr. Leslie William Watts DFC. had been Commanding Officer of 616 Squadron from July 1943 until July 1944. On the 23rd May 1943 as a Fl/Lt. during a "Roadstead" (3) he survived, when the Spitfire VI was hit by flak north of Guernsey he managed to crash land the aircraft with no injuries. The aircraft was later struck off charge. (note) Sq/Ldr. Watts DFC. was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school
(2) On July 12th 1944 616 Squadron became the first Squadron in the RAF, and that of the Allies, to become operational with Jet aircraft. They received the Gloster Meteor 1, which saw its first action on July 27th on 'anti-diver' patrols. The Meteors were very special aircraft, their construction was in the same all metal tradition that the war had started but the massive innovation of the engines caused them to be banned from operating deep into enemy territory. The fear was that even at this late stage in the war a captured Meteor engine would provide the germans with sufficient information to copy the metals which were vital to the operation and longevity of the jet engines.
(3) "Roadstead" - a fighter operation against shipping.
Sq/Ldr. Leslie William Watts DFC. Becklingen War Cemetery. Joint grave 19.B.1-2. Son of William Charles Watts and of Gertrude Watts (née Horton), husband of Joy Watts, of Sandbanks, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
W/O. Brian Cartmel. Becklingen War Cemetery. Joint grave 19.B.1-2. Son of Frederick and Grace Cartmel, of Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire, England.
Researched for and with thanks to Keith Townsend, historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records. (note) Sq/Ldr. Watts DFC. was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school. We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial. Other sources as quoted below.